Anne Arundel County Announces New COVID-19 Prevention Measures
Annapolis, Md. (March 12, 2020) County Executive Steuart Pittman announced today that he will sign an executive order on Friday, March 13 to declare a state of emergency for Anne Arundel County. The announcement follows Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s afternoon press conference announcing major steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus, the State’s March 5, 2020 Declaration of a State-wide Emergency, and is on the recommendation of County Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kayanaraman. Anne Arundel County government will remain open to provide services to county residents and businesses during this public health crisis.
“The extraordinary measures that Governor Hogan announced today may come as a shock to some county residents but I fully support his decisions,” said County Executive Pittman. “Unless we act broadly and decisively to slow the spread of this virus, the capacity of our hospitals to treat critically ill patients could be exceeded, as it has been elsewhere in the world.”
Pittman added: “Local government services are essential, not only to our public health response, but also to help residents during this period. Therefore, we are keeping county government open. I want to thank all public servants and all county residents in advance for their service and their sacrifice. We will get through this together.”
Dr. Kalyanaraman and Office of Emergency Management personnel remain in regular contact with the Maryland Department of Health, county agencies, City of Annapolis government, hospitals, and health care providers. Over the past two months, Anne Arundel County and the City of Annapolis have taken steps to be prepared for the possibility of COVID-19 cases in our area.
Today, County Executive Pittman directed the Office of Personnel to create a new telework policy to allow flexibility for most county workers to perform their duties remotely during this crisis. The new guidance is expected to be implemented on Monday, March 16 to align with the two week closure of all state schools announced today by State Superintendent Karen Salmon.
The Anne Arundel Department of Health also issued new guidance on public events designed to protect residents and prevent the spread of COVID-19. The guidance is intended for private and local organizations and community partners in Anne Arundel County and the City of Annapolis.
“Each of us is responsible to take actions that will slow the spread of the COVID-19 disease,” said Anne Arundel County Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman. “These limits on public gatherings are critical to protect the vulnerable and give our healthcare system the time to care for the rapidly growing numbers of those who are getting sick with this disease.”
The department recommends the following for gatherings scheduled through the end of April:
- Postpone or cancel ALL public gathering of more than 250 people per the Governor of the State of Maryland’s order on March 12, 2020
- Postpone or cancel public gatherings that meet ANY of the following criteria
- Are targeted toward or comprised of significant numbers of high-risk individuals (elderly who are 60+, chronic illness, homeless)
- Cannot provide at least 6 feet of space between attendees
- Offer alternative methods of meeting the gathering’s goals (e.g. live streaming)
- Are not time sensitive
- For public gatherings that do go forward we strongly recommend that you meet ALL these criteria:
- Provide at least 6 feet of space between attendees.
- Make handwashing stations (with soap and water) and/or hand sanitizer readily available, especially in food consumption areas.
- Utilize signage that promotes handwashing.
- Consider live streaming or recording of events so they are available for viewing for those who can’t/shouldn’t attend in person.
- Encourage all participants who are sick (cough, shortness of breath, or fever) not to attend.
- Encourage participants to cover their coughs and sneezes and to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces.
- Develop flexible refund policies and re-ticketing options.
Other recent steps the county has taken to limit the spread of COVID-19 include:
- The Department of Aging announced today that all senior activity centers will be closed, effective Friday, March 13. Nutrition Program meals will continue through Monday, March 16 and then transition to take home meals.
- The Department of Recreation and Parks announced today that all indoor recreational programs are postponed. County parks will remain open.
For up-to-date fact sheets and information about COVID-19, visit www.aahealth.org/coronavirus and the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov. For general questions about the disease, residents are encouraged to call 2-1-1. Individuals concerned about medical information should call their healthcare provider.